Medora, N.D. – Many summer destinations and attractions are wrapping up their season as college students leave their summer jobs to head back to campus. However, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) is able to stay fully staffed, thanks to a combination of retired and international workers.
TRMF has a long history of recruiting workers locally. However, North Dakota’s low unemployment rate has made it harder to find employees. As a result of this, TRMF has been creative in filling its summer positions by recruiting nationally and internationally. For the 2011 summer tourism season, the Foundation’s workforce represents 22 states and 18 countries.
Many of the national workers are retired and travel the country, in many cases by RV, doing seasonal work. Some of the international workforce is in the U.S. as part of a college exchange program, and Medora offers a great environment for them to better their English language skills, as well as learn about customer service and business.
“We wouldn’t be able to operate without our national and international workforce,” says Randy Hatzenbuhler, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation. “Since our largest visitor season is during May-September, we’ve found that many university and high school schedules don’t match up with our busy season. This, combined with the state’s low unemployment rate, makes it tough to find enough employees locally.”
Countries represented by workers at Medora include: Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Liberia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
States represented include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
Having a diverse workforce adds to the work atmosphere of Medora, and ultimately it’s a win-win situation for all involved, Hatzenbuhler notes. “We enjoy having international students work in Medora. It’s a way for us to learn about other cultures, and for them to experience American culture. They also benefit by improving their English language skills. In fact, some attend English as a Second Language class twice a week while they’re here. Overall, working in Medora is a great experience for our international employees.”
One way TRMF employees learn about each other’s culture is with Multicultural Night. This employee-only event is held near the end of the summer tourism season, and the staff is encouraged to prepare a food item from their native country or state to share with others. In addition to being able to sample food, employees share information about their country or state with co-workers. Due to its popularity amongst the staff, Multicultural Night is now an annual tradition.